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Ensemble & Choir Lesson Policies

DESCRIPTION OF CHOIRS - LEVEL BASED

Instrument Choir classes are 30-minutes long. They consist of a group of the same instruments all playing together, such as four violas, four cellos, or four violins.
 

The teacher will work closely with each student, while moving through the group. Choirs allow each student to learn from the teacher’s instruction, but also from observing each other, as the teacher makes suggestions to other individuals and the Choir as a whole.
 

The teacher will place each student in a Choir class based on his/her current age and number of years playing the instrument. After classes begin, if it becomes necessary to move a student to a higher or lower Choir level, the teacher will notify the parent of the recommended change. No pre-auditions are required for entrance into a Choir class.
 

All Choirs will be invited to perform in Recitals when their music is prepared to performance standard. If a Choir is not musically ready to perform in an upcoming recital, a future recital date may be suggested by the teacher to give additional preparation time to the class.


Class Levels & Curriculum:
The weekly curriculum for Choirs will include scales, arpeggios, technical exercises and several pieces (songs) chosen by the teacher to specifically promote technical and musical development of each group. Choir classes are similar to large group lessons, with technical exercises and pieces playing equal parts in each class.


• Bach & Handel Choirs - Students will play the notes for one-octave scales with 1, or 2 sharps. No shifting out of 1st position required. Each student will receive careful playing posture guidance and correction by the teacher. The teacher will provide additional help in early note-reading skills. Students will learn up to three music pieces (songs) per semester.


• Mozart and Haydn Choirs - Students will play and read the notes for two-octave scales with 0, 1, 2 or 3 sharps, and 1 flat. No shifting out of 1st position required. Students will play music with occasional accidentals out of the native key. The teacher will correct playing postures for individuals as needed. Students will become fluent in reading 1st position notes on their instrument. Students will learn up to three music pieces (songs) per semester.


• Beethoven Choirs - Students will play and read the notes for one-octave and two-octave scales with 0, 1, 2, or 3 sharps, and 2 flats. Students will learn to shift out of 1st position, into 2nd or 3rd positions for scales and short passages in the music. Students will play music with a variety of accidentals out of the native key. While playing posture will be mostly mastered, students will receive individual correction by the teacher if needed. Students will begin learning to read notes fluently while remaining in 2nd or 3rd position for several measures at a time. Students will learn to play basic vibrato on half notes or longer. Students will learn up to three music pieces (songs) per semester.


• Mendelssohn Choir - Students will play and read the notes for two-octave scales with 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 sharps, and up to 3 flats. Students will learn to proficiently shift to and stay in 2nd or 3rd position in scales and through long passages in music. Students will play music with a variety of accidentals out of the native key. Playing posture will be fully mastered. Students will become fluent in reading 1st, 2nd, and 3rd position notes on their instrument. Students will proficiently play vibrato on quarter notes, and longer half notes. Students will learn up to three music pieces (songs) per semester.


DESCRIPTION OF ENSEMBLES - AUDITION ONLY
Instrument Ensemble classes are 45-minutes long. The groups may consist of any variety of combined instruments playing from two to five separate melody and harmony parts. An ensemble might consist of 2 violins, 1 viola, and a cello (traditional string quartet), or 2 violas and 1 violin (non-traditional trio), for examples. Ensemble classes are run similarly to orchestra classes and other group rehearsals, with the performance of several various repertoires (pieces), and their mastery, being the primary focus.

Class Levels & Requirements:
• Each Ensemble group is created new per semester. Group availability and levels will vary. The teacher will post upcoming Ensemble class offerings and audition requirements before each new semester begins.
• Students forming a new ensemble will choose their own group name.
• All students wishing to participate in an Ensemble MUST audition with the teacher prior to the onset of classes for proper assessment and placement into a group. The teacher will place the students together in an appropriate level Ensemble class as openings are available. A student will be placed in an ensemble only if the teacher determines the student is musically ready for the rigor of an Ensemble.
• If no suitable Ensemble class is available to match the student’s needs at the time of the audition, the student can sign up for a Choir class, private lessons, or go on a waiting list for an appropriate Ensemble until an opening occurs.
• The teacher reserves the right to recommend private lessons or a Choir group instead of an Ensemble if the student’s technical playing level needs to be improved before joining a mixed Ensemble.


Materials:
• Parents should purchase the required books and equipment for their student to use in class and during home practice in a timely fashion. Most materials can be purchased or ordered from a local music store. All materials can be ordered online. Each parent will receive a list of needed materials to buy after the teacher meets with and evaluates their child.
• Materials for home use generally include, but are not limited to, music books, a personal instrument and bow, music stand, rosin, rock stop (cellos), shoulder rest (violins, violas), and a metronome for home use. Some students may benefit from a chromatic tuner at home.
• The teacher will provide a metronome, tuner, music stands, chairs, and pencils for classroom use.


Attendance in Choirs & Ensembles:
• Students should arrive 5 minutes prior to their class time. They may walk down the left sidewalk and enter the double doors into the Waiting Area where they can unpack and warm up, bags and cases should stay in the Waiting Area. Students should be unpacked and ready to enter the studio on time for their class. Afterwards, they may pack-up in the Waiting Area. This keeps all classes and lessons flowing on time.
• If a student misses a class, the student will forfeit that class for the week. The course will not be rescheduled or traded, and the student will receive no refund and no make-up lesson credit.
• Parents MUST submit any anticipated absence in writing to the teacher via text message to 678-459-4865 or by email to spstringsacademy@gmail.com. This information helps the teacher properly prepare the class based on an anticipated absence.


Class Preparation:
• Students are expected to arrive on time and bring all required materials to each class. Materials usually include, but are not limited to, assigned music books, instrument, bow, rosin, rock stop (cellos) and shoulder rest (violins, violas). The teacher will provide music stands, chairs, a metronome, pencils, and tuner for group use.
• Students are asked to be prepared for each class by practicing and studying their assignments at home regularly.


Home Practice:
• Each student is required to practice a minimum of 20 minutes at home, four days per week, more for older and advanced students.
• Regular and consistent home practice allows the new weekly class material to be processed and mastered by the student.
• Skipping regular practice lets students easily forget 50% of the new lesson material, and slide backwards in progress between classes, affecting themselves and the entire group.
Parking, Drop-Off & Pick-Up
• Parents must drop-off and pick-up their student on time for class.
• Parents or driving students who are staying for the duration of the class MUST park on the driveway in the parking spaces on the left. Please leave a clear path on the far right side of the driveway for family members to be able to pull up and into the garage.
• Parents who park in the street will be asked to go back and immediately move their vehicle. This policy ensures a respectful flow of traffic for the surrounding home owners.


Parent Observations:
• Parents are welcome to observe their child’s class and progress on the TV monitor located in the Waiting Area.
• Parents who stay for the class are asked to wait in the designated Waiting Area, not inside the teaching studio. This policy reduces distractions and students’ preoccupation with a parent in the rehearsal.
• Parents are asked to notify the teacher in advance if they wish to have a conference about their child. The teacher will gladly schedule a convenient time to talk to the parent in person or by phone.
• Parents are asked to not attempt to discuss their child just before or after the class time. This policy ensures groups will start and end on time and adequate parking will be available.


Choir & Ensemble Behavior:
• All students present in the teaching studio must not interrupt, disturb, or otherwise distract the other students or the teacher.
• A positive and focused learning environment helps all students in the class learn and process the new materials presented by the teacher.
Siblings Attendance and Behavior
• Any sibling present in the Waiting Area must sit quietly and not interrupt, disturb or otherwise distract the students or teacher.
• All waiting parents, students, or siblings must stay in the designated Waiting Area, which includes a sitting area and rest room.
• All children must be supervised at all times. Parents will be held responsible for any damages that may occur.


Payments & Flat Fees:
Every parent will receive an emailed monthly invoice.

• Parents may pay through the invoice itself by clicking on the Pay Now feature. Parents may also pay with cash, check, or Zelle. Note: if a parent uses a credit card to pay online through any method, there will be a credit card fee. Any credit card fees incurred by the studio will be added to the client invoice. The above suggested payment options have no fees attached.
Soundpost Strings Academy uses a Flat Fee payment plan, based on an average 4-week month price. Each month’s payment will be the same price, regardless of the number of weeks in the particular month.
• The Flat Fee allows for an extra four vacation weeks built into a 12-month year. (See Vacations section)
• All class payments are due in full by the 14th of each month. If payment is not received by the 14th, a late fee of $10 will be added to the client invoice.
• If a student starts a class mid-month, the Flat Fee will be pro-rated for the remaining number of classes in the month.


Yearly Schedule:
• Choir and Ensemble classes will be offered weekly at the same set time for a semester.
• Class times and Choir or Ensemble levels will be scheduled and posted in advance for each semester: Summer (June - July), Fall (August - December), Spring (January - May).
• Class times and available Choir or Ensemble levels MAY change each semester. Check with the teacher for the upcoming semester’s scheduled class offerings.


Vacations:
• Choirs and Ensembles receive four built-in vacations in a 12-month year. Students will get one week off during Thanksgiving and Spring Break, and two weeks off for Winter Break.
• There are no built-in vacations for Choirs and Ensembles during Summer Break. All groups meet weekly during the summer.
• If a student misses a class for additional vacations than the ones allotted, or for any other reason, that class is forfeited and will not be made up or refunded.
• If the teacher takes any additional vacation week off or day off, the client will not be charged for that week or day.


Recitals:
Soundpost Strings Academy holds three recitals per year: Fall Recital, Spring Recital and Summer Flip Flop Recital. These recitals give students the opportunity to perform pieces they have prepared in their Choir or Ensemble.
• Students will be required to wear dress black for the Fall and Spring recitals, and appropriate summer attire of their choice for the Summer Flip Flop Recital.
• All Choirs and Ensembles will be eligible to perform in each show. Each student member of a group must demonstrate proficiency in their personal music by playing the correct notes in tune, playing accurate rhythms, and following bowings appropriately per song.
• If a Choir or Ensemble does not meet these proficiency standards required by a set recital date, the teacher may deem the group is not ready to perform in the the upcoming show. This policy guarantees a positive experience for each Choir or Ensemble member in their performance.
• Each Choir or Ensemble member will pay $20 per person to participate in each recital. This fee covers the cost of the piano accompanist, one rehearsal with the piano player, rental of the church and costs of the production. If no piano accompanist is needed for a particular Choir or Ensemble class performance, the fee is reduced to $10 per student for that single recital performance. The teacher will email an invoice to each student for the appropriate amount.


Communication with Remind101 & Email:
• The teacher will email the entire studio regarding important information on a regular basis. Parents are responsible for the information contained in these emails as it pertains to their student and Soundpost Strings Academy.
• The teacher will also text the entire studio short amounts of important information using the Remind101 texting service.
• All parents and older driving students are asked to sign up for Remind101 by texting the number
81010, and entering the code @eileen in the text box.


Inclement Weather:
• Studio closings due to inclement weather will be announced by the teacher.
• The teacher will notify each parent of cancellations via Remind101 and a group email. Parents may call the studio on days in question for up-to-date information.
• In the event that an act of nature, (ie. severe storm, power outage, ice, etc.) necessitates the cancellation of any Soundpost Strings Academy class, Soundpost Strings Academy is not responsible for providing a make-up session, credit, or refund of any kind.


Cancellation Policy:
• If a course does not reach the required minimum enrollment (typically 3 students), Soundpost Strings Academy reserves the right to cancel the class. Parents will be notified and the teacher will work with the parent to find a suitable exchange class. If no replacement course can be settled upon, Soundpost Strings Academy will refund the student account in full.


Perfumes, Fragrances, Lotions:
• No scented body products of any kind can be worn into the teaching studio, by a student or parent. This includes perfumes, colognes, body sprays, scented hand lotions, and scented hand sanitizers (regular clear Purell types are okay).
• The teacher has asthma and severe allergies, as do several current students, and these fragrances are triggers for this condition.
• The studio greatly appreciates your cooperation in this matter, and apologizes for any inconvenience it may cause.

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